Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 95

FOCUS: RIOJA REDS
92 | CVNE

$15

2017 Rioja Crianza (Best Buy) ^ This is the
kind of brisk, savory red that sets Rioja apart,
especially when you can catch it for $15 a bottle. Michael Kowalski of Miraval Berkshires
in Lenox, Mass., described the savory mix of
fruit as tart red cherry, celery leaf and pomegranate. You might also find a sweet earthy
note of fruity black mushrooms, all of it coming together in a tense, floral red with more
generosity than anyone has a right to expect
at the price. § Arano USA, Riverside, CT
278686

92 | R. López de Heredia

$32

2011 Rioja Crianza Viña Cubillo ^ This
comes from a 59-acre vineyard less than
three miles from the López de Heredia cellars in Haro; it's planted to tempranillo (66
percent) as well as garnacha, mazuelo and
graciano, the vines averaging 40 years of age.
It produced a dynamic 2011, with high acidity driving the flavors of damson plum and
tart cranberry with harmonic intensity. It's
a wine with substance and staying power,
ready to decant for duck breast seared rare. §
Think Global, Santa Barbara, CA
278652

92 | Muga

$50

2015 Rioja Reserva Selección Especial ^ The
early 2015 season produced this warm, rich
Reserva, a wine with sweet baked-strawberry
flavors balanced by persistent, herb-scented
tannins. It's lush, round and smoky, improving over the course of several days as the
firmness of the structure lends shape to the
wine, bringing out the rosemary scents, the
floral tones and the deep cassis flavors. § Jorge
Ordóñez Selections, Dedham, MA
278760

92 | Obalo

$24

2016 Rioja Reserva Selección (Best Buy) ^ A
selection from parcels in Abalos, the Ramírez
de la Piscina family's home town, and San
Vicente de la Sonsierra, both in Rioja Alta,
this is a youthfully intense 2016. It builds
power out of sour cherry and ripe blackcherry flavors, the savory tannins of the
grape skins adding chewiness and a gamey

91 | Aldonia

$35

91 | Baron de Ley

$30

91 | Beronia

$30

91 | Burgo Viejo

$33

91 | Coto de Imaz

$22

91 | Fernandez de Piérola

$45

2016 Rioja 100 ^ Iván and Mario Santos come
from a family that has been farming vines
and making wine for four generations. They
established Aldonia in 2006 to focus on garnacha; this wine is 100 percent garnacha
from centenarian vines at an altitude of 2,780
feet. At first, the wine's reduction makes it a
little blunt and unsettled, the aroma bouncing from cracked black peppercorn to a scent
not far from an onion bagel. That reduction
blows off as the wine opens to cool, spicy
strawberry flavors, notes of black mushroom
and a little piquillo-pepper spice. It's racy and
refined, needing a few years of age to show
its best. § Regal Wine Imports, Moorestown, NJ
278783

92 | Sierra de Toloño

$24

92 | Marqués del Silvo

$25

2017 Rioja Crianza ^ Plump and rich, even as
it's transparent enough in color to let light
through the glass, this is a lithe Rioja that
holds its freshness for days after the bottle
is first opened. Its fragrant fruit ranges from
light red plum to darker purple, then it lasts
with a strawberry undertow. Decant it for
roast quail or other game birds. § Misa Imports,
Dallas, TX
278780

2013 Rioja Gran Reserva (Best Buy) ^
Focused on estate-grown fruit from Cenicero,
this wine has a cool, earthy savor that lasts
through a spike of red spice, like a spice rub
on grilled pork. The tannins are brisk underneath the meaty fruit flavors, pointing the
wine toward anything off the grill. § Carolina
Wine Brands, Charleston, SC
278812

92 | Marqués del Silvo

$40

2011 Rioja Gran Reserva (Best Buy) ^ A fat
and happy Rioja, this mellows into a lovely,
gentle wine over the course of several days.
Its rich fruit has the flavor of black currants
and wild blueberries, sustaining floral freshness even as the wine moves toward umami
notes of mushrooms and smoke. Pour it
with braised duck legs with prunes. § González
Byass USA, Chicago, IL
278736

2018 Rioja Sierra de Toloño Tempranillo ^
From vines at altitudes up to 2,350 feet, their
fruit spontaneously fermented and then
aged in neutral French oak barrels, this offers
a high-altitude view of Rioja. The wine's hightoned perfume is an essence of ripe raspberries, underlined by some earthy notes of
horse stables and barnyards. Acidity, both
volatile and fresh, keeps it clean and lifted-a
lovely, rich red for grilled mushrooms. § David
Bowler Wines, NY
278663

2014 Rioja Gran Reserva ^ An estate-grown
blend of tempranillo and garnacha, this wine
gains energy over the course of several days,
moving from the ripe tomato scents of tempranillo to fresh, umami earthiness. It's sleek,
with lasting detail in the meaty tannins, a luscious red for the spicy sausage in paella. § Misa
Imports, Dallas, TX

2010 Rioja Gran Reserva (Best Buy) ^ Prepare yourself for the pheromones of a packed
Madrid subway car-right there in the wine's
funky intensity. Or think of it as ripe currant,
dried flowers, star anise, the peat of a cranberry bog... Either way, it's a wine that asks
for liver, whether from a calf and sautéed
with caramelized onions, or in the pork pâté
of a banh mi sandwich. § Kysela Père et Fils,
Winchester, VA
278755

$30

2016 Rioja Reserva Las Arenas ^ Obalo works
with growers in Rioja Alavesa, selecting the
oldest parcels for Las Arenas, where the vines
range in age from 65 to 90 years. This Reserva
aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, developing a mellow richness and a gentle touch of earthy flavor. It's driven by sweet,
pale red-berry fruit, contrasted by tight fruitskin tannins. While this will stand up to roast
meats, it is fine enough to serve with grilled
mackerel. § Aviva Vino, NY
278756

92 | Ramírez de la Piscina

note. Suited to several years of development
in the cellar, this is an impressive value. § Jorge
Ordóñez Selections, Dedham, MA
278715

278668

92 | Valoria

$21

2014 Rioja Reserva Viña Valoria (Best
Buy) ^ From grapes grown in Fuenmayor,
in Rioja Alta, this wine takes a traditional
approach with aging in American oak. And
it feels classical, with smoky notes of green
fig and darker tones of plum-skin spice. Cool
and silken, warmed up by allspice and cardamom notes, this is a red to serve with sautéed
wild mushrooms and a flank steak. § Vintage
Wine Marketing, Napa, CA
278644

2016 Rioja Reserva (Best Buy) ^ This tight,
earthy Rioja has a classical profile, with
gamey notes, edges of limestone acidity and
tannins darkening its red-currant flavors. Its
youthful energy makes it a lovely match with
grilled lamb. § Opici Wines, Glen Rock, NJ
278711
2004 Rioja Gran Reserva ^ Fully mature yet
still vibrant, this wine's dark fruit has venWINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

95


https://bodegas-valoria.obtainwine.com/product/2014-valoria-reserva

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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